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Balancing the Truth: Paul Freund 1908 - 1992

Paul Freund
Photo from the Paul A. Freund Art and Visuals Collection

Paul Freund at work in his office

An Exhibit honoring Professor Paul Freund in celebration of the opening of the Paul A. Freund Papers.

Harvard Law School Library
Caspersen Room
October 17, 2006 - February 28, 2007
Monday - Friday, 9:00am - 5:00pm


“In law, the art is to see the balancing truths and to reach a satisfying accommodation. I think this is true in life.”
Paul Freund in a 1975 interview.

Paul Freund spent thirty-seven years teaching both graduates at Harvard Law School and undergraduates at Harvard University. Lord Acton’s dictum, “When you perceive a truth, look for a balancing truth” was a core theme that permeated his philosophy toward both the law and life. As a legal scholar he was considered a leading authority on constitutional law and the Supreme Court. As a teacher, Freund’s wisdom—complemented by a generous, gentle spirit and selfless demeanor—was a great influence on students and colleagues alike.

Balancing the Truth: Paul Freund, 1908 - 1992, features material from the recently opened Paul A. Freund Papers. While the majority of the collection consists of Freund’s work as a professor of law, it also contains a variety of materials extending beyond his membership in the Harvard community. Examples include documents from his time spent as a government lawyer in the 1930s when he worked on New Deal legislation being brought before the Supreme Court by the Roosevelt administration. Correspondence reveals how Freund’s advice was sought on such disparate issues as medical ethics and Electoral College reform. The collection also contains a substantial amount of material reflecting his work with numerous organizations, including his alma mater, Washington University, and the American Academy of Arts and Sciences. The broad range of subjects to which Freund contributed his balanced opinions, illustrates his great interest in areas beyond the realm of law.

The Paul A. Freund Papers represent a wonderful new source of material for scholars, as relevant today as it was when it was first created. You can view the online finding aid for this collection in OASIS (Harvard’s Online Archival Search Information System).

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